AT LAST: some Ally Pally news everyone can cheer
BY Charlotte Newton CELEBRATIONS were held in Alexandra Park to mark the completion of a £2 million landscaping project. After five years of toil and cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the work has earned the area the accolade of having one of Britai
CELEBRATIONS were held in Alexandra Park to mark the completion of a £2 million landscaping project.
After five years of toil and cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the work has earned the area the accolade of having one of Britain's best parks on its doorstep, marked by a Green Flag award.
Improvements have seen new play equipment, two cafes, a skate park, a games pitch and a putting course for budding golfers. There are also larger areas for picnics and games and designated areas for dog walking.
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To celebrate the new-look park, an unveiling was held on Sunday, attended by the mayor, residents, councillors, representatives of the HLF and Ally Pally charity trustees.
"The joint funding from HLF and Haringey Council has helped us to make real, positive changes to one of the most glorious open spaces in London," said chairman of the Alexandra Park Charitable Trust, Councillor Matt Cooke.
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"The new facilities have made the park more attractive for children and families while remaining sensitive to the historic legacy of this important resource for the community.
"It is hugely important that local people in Haringey have good quality public space to enjoy and the charity is proud to be providing this at the highest standard."
Large parts of the park are also wildlife conservation areas, home to a wide range of flora and fauna. This includes 113 types of birds, along with various species of bats, butterflies, foxes and aquatic wildlife on the lake.
The £2,752,000 of improvements helped pave the way for the park's Green Flag award, presented last month, which formally recognised it as one of the most beautiful and well-kept parks in the country.
Alexandra Park first opened to the public in 1863, hence many of the trees predate the 1860s original landscaping.
Dominic Cole, of Land Use Consultants, the lead architect on the latest project, led the tour of the grounds at the weekend.
Sue Bowers, head of HLF London, said: "We're delighted that the five-year project to restore Alexandra Park is now complete.
"Heritage Lottery money has played a vital role in the renaissance of the UK's parks for more than a decade. The borough of Haringey, the local community and visitors alike now have a well deserved and much-improved environment and standard of living - both now and for the future."
Residents can become involved in the management of the site through monthly conservation volunteer tasks. An active Friends of the Park group is also seeking new members. Phone 020-8883 8972 for more details.
ALEXANDRA PARK FACTS AND FIGURES
Alexandra Park was created by Alexander McKenzie (1829-1893) and opened to the public on July 23, 1863.
Alexandra Palace sits within Alexandra Park's 196 acres of parkland which can be easily reached by both public and private transport.
Alexandra Palace opened in 1873 as a recreation centre and visitor attraction. It was destroyed by fire two weeks later but was rebuilt within two years. An Act of Parliament in 1900 created the Alexandra Palace and Park Charitable Trust.
Using money raised from the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to learn from and enjoy. It has so far handed out £4 billion across the UK.
To date, the Heritage Lottery Fund has invested just over £8 million in 75 projects in Haringey.